I’ve lived in Oregon for three years now, and only recently have I felt like I’ve adjusted to living here. It’s not that this is a bad place; rather, moving from California seemed like coming from a different planet. The two places couldn’t be more opposite, and sometimes it shocks me that they actually border each other.
Quite often in the first year after we moved I threatened go back home. The people drove too slowly, I couldn’t find one decent Mexican restaurant, I was convinced the radio stations only had three songs they all played on a loop. My significant other would remind me that homesickness clouds our judgment about the place we were so desperate to get out of in the first place.
He was right. I had forgotten about all of the things which really bothered me about my home state because I was so focused on griping about the new place. So I did some side-by-side comparisons, and realized both have their quirks.
California: People care too much.
Oregon: People don’t care enough.
California: Best Mexican food.
Oregon: Best food carts.
California: People drive as though they don’t care about their lives.
Oregon: People drive as though they don’t care about time.
California: Too much Rap mixed with Top 40.
Oregon: Too much Top 40 mixed with Indie.
California: Notoriously fast-paced.
Oregon: Notoriously laid-back.
Big Box Stores
California: Love ‘em.
Oregon: Hate ‘em.
California: Too much sun.
Oregon: Too much rain.
California: The only place people drink coffee.
Oregon: The one place people avoid drinking coffee.
Cost of Living
California: You need to sell your plasma on the weekends to make ends meet.
Oregon: You only need to work part-time to afford your own place.
California: A person will tailgate you, follow you into a parking lot and threaten you with a gun.
Oregon: A person will send a scathing glance your way.
California: Bacon is the devil.
Oregon: Bacon is God.
California: Buildings, building and more buildings.
Oregon: Trees, trees and more trees.
California: Every single ethnicity is represented.
Oregon: Diversity? What’s that?
California: Residents think they know good beer.
Oregon: Residents actually know good beer.
California: Tons of people, tons of traffic.
Oregon: A few people driving ridiculously slowly, tons of traffic.
California: Available, but not worth taking.
Oregon: Available, and worth taking.
California: Work is life.
Oregon: Work is what you do to pay the bills
California: Lots of good jobs….if you work in technology.
Oregon: Lots of good jobs….if you work in healthcare.
California: A status symbol.
Oregon: A thing that takes you from one place to another.
California: Ridiculous sales tax.
Oregon: Ridiculous income tax.
California: You’re allowed to pump your own gas.
Oregon: The pump is an elusive piece of equipment never to be touched by a lay person.
California: Has two: sunny and less sunny.
Oregon: Has all four.
California: Overzealous Giants and Lakers fans.
Oregon: Overzealous Ducks and Beavers fans.
Thoughts on Other States
California: “There are other states besides California? They don’t count as much as we do.”
Oregon: “We love everyone in the United States except Californians. They’re evil.”
This list confirms why I wanted to move, and why I may be an Oregonian at heart. Sure, it has its pitfalls, but I think it always has a saving grace. You have to appreciate the dampness because you know it brings lots of green and fresh air. You have to appreciate the time you have to pay bills or read a magazine while waiting in line to get your gas pumped. You have to appreciate that the same people driving slowly are also driving safely.
Oregon is not for everyone, but the same could be for California. It all comes down to what’s important to an individual. I thought after I moved here I made the biggest mistake of my life, but after reading the list above, I can honestly say I’m perfectly content with where I’m at.